Review: Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Drawing and Graphic Design


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 was unveiled in August 2018. It sports a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with an aspect ratio of 16.10. Videos on the tab fill most of the screen and leave smaller black bars than those of its predecessor the Tab S3. The device’s resolution is 2560 ×1600 with a pixel density of 287 PPI. The screen is extremely sharp and detailed.

The tab’s battery capacity is 7,300mAh, and it will last about 10 hours or more. Four speaker grills are fitted on the four corners, and you can adjust the sound settings to get the very best of the device. Instead of a fingerprint scanner, the tab S4 features an iris and face scanner which is quite effective in terms of security.

You can purchase either the 64 or 256 GB memory variants and supplement this memory with an SD card of up to 400 GB. The tab also packs an integrated far-field microphone to enable the control of Google Assistant from far distances. The rear camera and the front cameras are 8 and 13 megapixels respectively. Videos shot with the front camera are 1080p in quality and 4K for the ones shot by the rear-facing camera.

The device’s software includes the Samsung Experience 9.5 which is centered on Android 8.1 Oreo. You can run up to 20 applications on the tab simultaneously, and it enables split screen, right-click, and drag and drop functionality.

Drawing with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

The pen on the device is an improvement from the one on the Tab S3 as it has a 0.7 mm tip coupled with 4,096 pressure levels. It weighs 0.32z and can handle air commands, screen-off memos, translation of on-screen text, and live messages. The pen is cylindrical, and there is a small piece of metal jutting out from the side to prevent it from rolling off the table. It is not batter-reliant, so no charging is required. The tab’s pen comes with five replacement nibs, and the white ones provide more friction while the grey ones are smoother on the screen.

There is no parallax with this tab because there is little allowance between the screen and the glass surface. The pen is incredibly sensitive, and you will get a line by simply dragging it across the screen with little pressure.

The drawing experience with the Tab S4 is quite satisfactory. The working space is more extensive than that of the Tab S3 although the drawing experience feels the same with both devices. The tab also features a powerful palm rejection feature. Some applications will, however, require you to enable palm rejection to use only the pen.

Drawing on most apps is seamless. The pen is exceptionally accurate when using Medibang Paint Pro as it is very responsive and has high-pressure sensitivity. The problem of diagonal line jitter is absent with all apps. The same responsiveness is evident when using Adobe sketch, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, and Artflow. There is a small level of drag with Adobe Draw and Artrage.

Pros and Cons of Drawing with Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

One of the pros of the Tab S4 is its lightweight (482g) and solid build. You can opt for a glossy or an austere grey body, and the design is quite minimalistic. The screen is also vivid and bright which makes it ideal for drawing, gaming, and watching videos.

The high resolution of the device is paired with unique audio features. Four speakers are distributed at the edges of the tab and are turned on by AKG. The speakers are further enabled by surround sound by Dolby Atmos. The battery capacity of 7,300mAh is an improvement from the 6,000mAh found in its predecessor the Galaxy Tab S3. This improved capacity will power 16 hours of video playback.

The tablet features Snapdragon 835 CPU and 4GB RAM which enable a user to switch easily and quickly from one application to another.

Samsung has banked on the idea of the DeX mode with this tab to give it PC capabilities. The mode displays a Window-like interface where you can launch Android apps, switch and resize them and use keyboard shortcuts. All android apps are however not optimized for this mode, and it, therefore, feels over-ambitious when in use.

The Tab S4 is among the most expensive tablets. Although it features a host of upgrades, the drawing experience is similar to that of the reasonably priced Tab S3. The DeX mode also requires more app support. Another con with the Tab 4 is the almost unnatural and excessively vibrant screen colors. You cannot change the button function of the tab’s pen. The camera quality and pixel densityare also not the very best on the market considering the device’s retail price.

Other Good Tablets for Drawing

There are numerous options available for digital artists from different brands. They either rank better or worse than the Galaxy Tab 4. These options include:

1. Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet

This tab sports a 1920 ×1080 full HD display in addition to vibrant colors so that your work is displayed in a detailed fashion. The surface is anti-glare as well as scratch-resistant. The 15.6-inch screen provides a 72% NTSC color palette. The tab features large, and big bezels fit for a professional graphics tablet. The bezels are perfectly designed to rest your palms on while you are drawing with the stylus.

The Wacom Pro Pen 2, which comes with the device, is optimized for drawing. It feels like a regular pen such that you do not need to familiarize yourself with any fresh technique. It has two buttons on the sides which are programmable to offer full user control. The pen boasts 8,192 pressure levels with a low activation force. It features Electro Magnetic Resonance, and it draws power from the tablet rather than relying on charging. The tab has reduced parallax so that the cursor appears where you expect it.
A 3-to-1 cable comes with the tablet. The proprietary circular cable is plugged into the AC adapter and subsequently to an electrical port. A USB-A cable connects to the USB port of a computer, while an HDMI cable can be plugged into a video card. The tab is marketed to creative digital artists although it lacks touch capability and 4K display.

2. Ugee UG-2150 Pen Tablet

The Ugee UG-2150 Pen tab is lightweight and compact since it lacks express keys. It has an adjustable stand which makes it easy to work on a range of surfaces. The active interface on this tablet is a 22-inch LED screen like the one on the Cintiq 22HD. The panel has a definition of 1920 ×1080 and a pressure sensitivity of 2048.

The tab’s monitor can be set in an extended mode, a second monitor, or a duplicated mode when drawing. It is packed with two rechargeable pens and two charging cables for the pens. The battery in the pens last a long time, and there are two buttons for configurations.

The tablet is compatible with numerous software including Illustrator, 3D Max, Adobe Photoshop, SAI, and Autodesk MAYA. It also has an interactive display and excellent colors. The Ugee UG-2150 pen tablet, although represented as a Wacom knockoff, has great specs and is affordable.

3. Apple iPad Pro 12.9ʺ

This tablet features a new liquid retina display which stretches from edge to edge. The 12-inch display further offers Promotion technology and true-to-life color to create a vibrant interface. Apple scrapped off the home button with this device and opted for uniform bezels fitted around the edges. It is 5.9 mm thick and at 631g is among the thinnest and lightest of its competition.
There is a face ID recognition feature on the bezel on the left side which works smoothly. The battery life of the tab is about 10 hours when using the internet on Wi-Fi, listening to music, and watching videos. You will get around 9 hours of surfing the web via cellular data.

It runs the same iOS version available in previous iPhones and iPads and offers a large variety of third-party tablet applications like art programs and text editors. Also available are all the media consumption apps you would need. The 12.9-inch surface supports side-by-side split very well, and it can execute a lot of commands on a PC or Mac although you may need a workaround or a hack. The tab also supports the gesture navigation similar to the one on the iPhone X.

The device is complemented by a new pencil featuring a flat side and a matte finish. It charges at the top of the tab where it is magnetically secured. Double tapping on the pen’s barrel switches modes which makes it quite professional to use. The pen is also sensitive with tilt sensitivity. The tab’s 12 mp and f/1.8 camera features autofocus 4K recording, and LED flash. The Apple iPad Pro 12.9ʺ is perfect for photographers, artists, and animators who want a secondary tablet for creative spaces. It easily beats a Wacom Cintiq and is among some of the powerful tablets in the market.


The Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 has some notable improvements from the Tab S3 including a larger screen, a wider ratio, and higher resolution. It performs incredibly well when drawing although the experience is quite similar to that on the Tab S3. The tab also includes the Samsung DeX mode which is a promising idea, but it does not affect drawing. If you are looking for a good tablet for illustration, the Tab s3 will hold up just as well at an affordable price.

Featured Image: Flickr

Lin - TabletAdvice

Lin Yang

Lin is a senior editor of TabletAdvice. She creates helpful guides and helps people in finding the best tablet that fits their needs and budget.

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